Spoilers follow for the first episode of the 1999 AD Police series – some might say that nine years later is well past the point where one really has to give warning, but I figure that it’s only polite to mention it.
OK, so as I started out saying… stop me if you’ve heard this one.
You’ve got a young, hothead cop, see? Who doesn’t play by the rules, see?
He’s always making trouble for his captain and he’s racked up a series of dead partners. His current partner is the last guy willing to hang out with him.
Anyway, he’s part of a police force in the nearish future, and one day he’s late responding to an incident and the aforementioned partner winds up mortally wounded, with the killer escaping before Our Hero can get to the scene.
Now, his boss, understandably upset, tells this young, hothead cop that he’s “off the case” and that the rest of the team will handle things.
At this point, the young, hothead cop, uh, goes to drown his sorrows in alcohol while, uh, the rest of the team tracks down the killer. Also, he punches out a guy in a bar.
But, he doesn’t go all renegade and vow to track down his partner’s killer, and, well, the rest of the team is shown as being pretty competent at doing their job without the main character.
Episode 1 ends with Our Hero meeting his New Partner, also known as “the other guy on the DVD packaging”
That bit – the bit where he, you know, follows orders, in clear defiance of the Laws Of Cop Shows – is pretty much the only reason I watched episode 2, because there was nothing else exceptional about the first episode except for rather decent opening and ending songs. The art style wasn’t really to my taste and the action sequences lacked a certain ooomph.
The art never did grow on me, by the way, but the music remained quite good. In addition to the OP and ED, there were a couple of rather enjoyable insert songs.
Now, a little bit of history and some more rambling:
The 1999 AD Police TV series came out as a spin-off of the Bubblegum Crisis 2040 TV series, which itself was a remake of the 1980s Bubblegum Crisis OVA series. I really didn’t care for the BGC2040 series – it started off great and stayed great through the halfway mark, after which point it took a nose-dive – and I honestly wasn’t expecting great things from AD Police after that disappointment.
But, I’d bought it and I figured that I should at least give it a try.
I have an awful lot of anime that falls into that category, by the way. There were a few years where I got sucked in by every “I can get this entire series for 30 bucks? That’s a deal! I should check it out!” slim-pack re-release. I am close to drowning in DVDs as a result. I admit this. Moving on…
AD Police, set in 2020, sits neatly on the BGC timeline at a point several years before either the original OVA series – starting in 2032 – or the TV series remake, set in 2040. As a result, the technology used is several generations behind that seen in the BGC series – some things that exist in BGC are seen in prototype form during AD Police, and locations that exist in both exist in dramatically different form. Also as a result, you can watch it even if you prefer one version of the future over the other, it doesn’t tie itself down to one or the other.
It’s refreshingly free of name-dropping; it doesn’t do the “here, look! It’s a younger version of xxx character you’ve seen in the BGC series!” thing, so you’re never able to say “well, xxx won’t die because we’ve seen him 20 years in the future.”
It does play with the viewer a bit with one particularly familiar name, but it turns it into something completely unexpected by the end of the show.
To sum up: 12 episodes, about 5 hours long, of a surprisingly good cop-buddy-action-drama show that works as a standalone but also does some universe building for fans of Bubblegum Crisis.
Next up – I have no idea. Right now, I could either just start working through the anime backlog alphabetically, or I could jump around based on what looks good. 🙂